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Fairfax Resolves

Fairfax Resolves



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The seemingly more genteel Southern colonies had long regarded Massachusetts as the home of sharp Yankee traders, sanctimonious religious zealots and intemperate political radicals. Those perceptions were changed in early 1774 when Parliament began imposing the Coercive Acts as punishment for the Boston Tea Party and other acts of defiance. With the Bay Colony singled out for stern treatment, many of its neighbors adopted a much more sympathetic view.One such response occurred in Virginia. On July 17, 1774, George Mason and Patrick Henry visited George Washington at Mount Vernon to discuss the emerging American plight. This short document provided the following:

  • a concise summary of American constitutional concerns on such issues as taxation, representation, judicial power, military matters and the colonial economy
  • a proposal for the creation of a nonimportation effort to be levied against British goods
  • a call for a general congress of the colonies to convene for the purpose of preserving the Americans’ rights as Englishmen
  • a condemnation of the practice of importing slaves as an “unnatural trade;” its termination was urged
  • a veiled threat was aired in the reminder that the colonists were “Descendants not of the Conquered, but of the Conquerors.”

On the following day, July 18, the Resolves were endorsed by a Fairfax County convention, a public protest meeting staged at the local courthouse with Washington presiding. In short order the resolutions were taken on to the House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress.The Fairfax Resolves summarized the feelings of many colonists in mid-1774 — a conviction that their constitutional rights were being violated by British policies, but no mention of independence was made and only a hint of support for armed resistance was offered. The Resolves also marked a step forward in inter-colonial cooperation as more Americans began to realize that a threat against one colony was a threat against all. Finally, political rivalries in Virginia were muted to some degree, allowing such figures as Washington and Mason to work productively with the more radical Henry, Richard Henry Lee and others.


See timeline of the American Revolution.


Virginia Association

The Virginia Association was a series of non-importation agreements adopted by Virginians in 1769 as a way of speeding economic recovery and opposing the Townshend Acts. Drafted by George Mason and passed by the Virginia House of Burgesses in May 1769, the Virginia Association was a way for Virginians to stand united against continued British taxation and trade control. The Virginia Association served as the framework and precursor to the larger more powerful Continental Association.

The adoption of the Virginia Association resolutions was preceded by a push from northern Virginians for expanded domestic industry. Starting in the mid-1760s, most Virginians were heavily impacted by a minor economic recession. The economic downturn was a result of the severe costs of the French and Indian War in addition to local climate difficulties, which had led to a series of poor crop yields. The economic struggles for many Virginians were exacerbated by the passage of the Stamp Act. The colonist reaction in Virginia was to encourage domestic manufacturing growth and economic diversification. After the passage of the Townshend Acts in 1767, general sentiment in Virginia pushed eagerly for some action. [1]

George Washington, at the time, a plantation owner in northern Virginia, promoted the implementation of some sort of non-importation scheme and conveyed his thoughts to his neighbor, George Mason. Washington contended that if the scheme was adopted on a large scale, the benefits would outweigh the costs of the loss of British imports. Mason, along with Washington and Richard Henry Lee, spent several weeks formulating the language of a non-importation association that would ultimately help strengthen the state's economy. [2]

Gathered at the Raleigh Tavern (run by Anthony Hay) in Williamsburg, VA, the House of Burgesses, on May 17, began discussing the Mason draft. After amending some of the articles and the preamble, the House of Burgesses, which was made up two representatives from each of the countries, proceeded to pass the Virginia Association resolutions. [3]

In the preamble of the Virginia Association resolutions, it was declared that the "Townshend Acts were unconstitutional and destructive to the cause of liberty." [4] The preamble also emphasized the hard times faced by Virginian plantation owners. As part of the agreement, colonists were prohibited from purchasing, after September 1, 1769, any article on a long list of enumerated goods. However, because there were some goods that could not be replaced by Virginia manufacturers, the signers made exceptions for coarse and cheap goods.

The association was also given the power to call future meetings. A meeting of one hundred signers was necessary to revise the terms of the agreement unless the British Parliament met the specific demands that were detailed in the Association resolutions.

The Association was not as successful as initially intended because there were many merchants who did not follow the boycott. British exports to the colonies declined by 38% in 1769, but British producers remained profitable because certain merchants failed to adhere to the conditions. After Britain lifted the Townshend duties from all items except tea, the Association gradually weakened, and finally collapsed in 1771. [5]


Fairfax Connection

From left: Mike Weyler, Jacob Michael Duncan and Leamon Duncan. In background: Fairfax Resolves interpreters are giving Jacob a hand after his induction into the Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution at the historic Fairfax Courthouse. Photo contributed

Don McAndrews as George Mason, principal author of the Fairfax Resolves, reading from one of the resolutions.

On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the Fairfax Resolves Chapter, Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution (VASSAR), hosted the 244th Anniversary of the signing of the Fairfax Resolves. The celebration took place in the historic Fairfax Courthouse in Fairfax. The Colonel William Grayson Chapter was represented by four members who participated in the ceremony, the color guard and the presentation of wreaths. Those Compatriots present were Mike Weyler, Leamon Duncan, Jacob Duncan and Don McAndrews.

The Fairfax Resolves was a set of resolutions adopted by a committee chaired by George Washington in Fairfax County in the colony of Virginia on July 18, 1774, in the early stages of the American Revolution. The resolutions, written primarily by George Mason, rejected the British Parliament's claim of supreme authority over the American colonies. More than thirty counties in Virginia passed similar resolutions in 1774, but the Fairfax Resolves were felt by many to be the most detailed, the most influential, and the most radical.

The main focus of the program was the reading of a number of the resolutions by interpretive readers, most of whom were in period dress, speaking as various members of the original committee, including a couple of readings and interpretations by George Mason, portrayed by Don McAndrews.

A highlight for the Colonel William Grayson Chapter was the chance to conduct a Sons of the American Revolution induction ceremony immediately following the celebration of the Resolves. Leamon Duncan’s grandson, Jacob Michael Duncan, who lives in Omaha, Neb., was approved as a Junior Member in 2017 but had never been formally inducted into the SAR. Since Jacob was visiting Leamon for the week, the Fairfax Resolves Chapter granted the privilege of inducting him into the SAR as an adjunct to the Fairfax Resolves Ceremony.


The Fairfax Story

The Fairfax Story is the American story. It is a story of migration and settlement, of civil war and economic boom, and of respecting heritage – while embracing new cultures.

1700s

While our earliest residents were Native Americans who lived here near the end of the ice age, Colonial Fairfax was a place of tobacco plantations, revolutionary ideas, and a black slave labor force. The church parish and the county court framed both politics and everyday life. By 1700, European planters and farmers from the Tidewater region migrated westward to the 5 million acre land grant owned by the aristocratic Fairfax family. Life was first organized around the Truro Parish in 1732. Like the church, large plantation owners controlled the county court, charged with both judicial and administrative duties. In 1798, county officials chose a new courthouse location, one catering to Fairfax’s economic and political changes. The first session of court at the new courthouse in the Town of Providence convened April 21, 1800.

1800s

Eighteenth-century Fairfax was home to two of the greatest political figures of the period: George Washington and George Mason. Together, they authored the Fairfax Resolves in 1774, a proclamation of colonists’ rights. By the end of the century, a new crop – wheat – had replaced tobacco.

On January 14, 1805, the Virginia General Assembly established the Town of Providence on 14 acres of Ratcliffe’s land surrounding the new courthouse. However, residents and travelers alike commonly called the area “Fairfax Court House.” It was officially re-named Fairfax in 1874.

The Civil War

Fairfax was the scene of several noteworthy events during the Civil War. Captain John Quincy Marr, the first officer casualty of the Confederacy, was killed at Fairfax Courthouse on June 1, 1861. By late 1862, Union forces under the command of Brigadier General Edwin H. Stoughton occupied the town. In an audacious raid led by Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby in March of 1863, Stoughton was captured while he slept in a house which now belongs to Truro Episcopal Church.

Also in 1863, Antonia Ford, whose girlhood home was the Ford Building on Chain Bridge Road, was imprisoned as a Southern spy after being accused of aiding Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart. She fell in love with her jailer, Major Joseph C. Willard, who secured her release from prison after seven months. They were married, and their son Joseph built Old Town Hall in 1900.

1900s

Fairfax greeted the twentieth century with Old Town Hall’s impressive classical revival façade raising hopes for continuing prosperity. The electric railway or trolley “infused new life into the town.” The town organized a baseball team and a brass band and watched “moving pictures” at Old Town Hall. In 1945, for the first time in its history, a minority of Fairfax residents lived on farms. The 1950’s transformed Fairfax into an important suburban community for Washington DC. The Town of Fairfax became a City in 1961 and matured into an urban village with a strong sense of community.

Historic Buildings and Landmarks

The City of Fairfax’s historic buildings and landmarks are tangible reminders of the area’s heritage and its continuing important role as a major crossroads of commerce, travel, and judicial center. Anchoring the City’s National Register Historic District are the Fairfax County Courthouse (1800) and the Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House (1812), built by “town founder” Richard Ratcliffe.

Gracious antebellum homes in the historic district include the Joshua Gunnell House (c. 1830) the Truro Rectory built c.1835 by Dr. William Gunnell, and the Ford House (c.1835). Several buildings along Main Street reflect population and community change generated from the agricultural boom of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The City Today

Today, the City is both a place to rediscover the past and to savor the present. Rediscover our exciting past through Oral Histories and the Museum’s Collections many of which have been funded by HFCI. The Fare Facs Gazette, HFCI’s newsletter produced by Page Johnson, offers insight into our local history, legends and lore. Members of HFCI receive this exciting newsletter that puts a face to our people and their lives through time.

Fairfax, Virginia: A City Traveling Through Time book written by five local historians offers a broad view of Fairfax. The book is sold at the Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center and at Blenheim Civil War Interpretive Center.

The Fairfax story today and in the future continues to be one of its people and the land.


Fairfax Resolves - History

George Mason and the
Adoption of the Fairfax Resolves,
July 18, 1774

homas Jefferson said of George Mason, &ldquoHe was one of our greatest men, and of the first order of greatness.&rdquo He was one of the chief architects of the United States Constitution, yet he refused to sign it, and joined with Patrick Henry to defeat its ratification in the Virginia Convention. He was a neighbor and good friend of George Washington but spent his final years estranged from him over Washington&rsquos support of the Constitution. Mason was, perhaps, the chief architect of freedom in Virginia but disliked politics and refused to serve in the national government his chief building duties centered on the improvements to his estate, Gunston Hall, and raising his family. He is a Founding Father we should all remember.


George Mason (1725-1792)

Mason ran successfully for the Virginia House of Burgesses but was too busy to invest much of his time there and did not stand for reelection at the beginning of the crucial first period of tax protests. Nonetheless, due to the esteem in which he was held, the sage of Gunston Hall was consulted by other burgesses for strategies to defeat the Stamp tax. After that success, Mason drafted a response to the Townshend Duties to institute non-importation (boycott), which the Virginia legislature adopted. The Royal Governor dissolved the House.


Old Capitol Building, Williamsburg

When information arrived in the capitol at Williamsburg regarding the &ldquoIntolerable Acts&rdquo targeting Massachusetts, George Mason happened to be in town on business. Patrick Henry, Richard Lee and Thomas Jefferson asked Mason to join them to help formulate a response. When they passed a resolution enjoining a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, the Royal Governor dissolved the legislature again. Mason&rsquos district wanted to elect him to the Virginia Convention but he turned them down to stay home with his nine living children, his wife of twenty-three years having recently died giving birth to their thirteenth.


Patrick Henry
(1736-1799)


Richard Lee
(1732-1794)


Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826)


Mount Vernon, home of George Washington

On July 5, 1774 George Washington called for a meeting of local leaders to &ldquodefine our Constitutional Rights&rdquo in light of the recent actions of the British Parliament regarding Boston. A committee was selected to set down their ideas in writing. On July 17, Mason and Washington met at Mt. Vernon and likely went over the Resolves together. What became &ldquoThe Fairfax Resolves,&rdquo drafted mostly by George Mason, was put in the form of twenty-four propositions. They articulated the very groundwork principles of the Colonial arguments against the Parliament&rsquos tyrannical taxation, and usurpation of the privileges granted by charter to the colonies. The Resolves affirmed loyalty to the King but denied that Parliament could legislate for the colonies. They called for a continental congress and threatened to cut off tobacco and other exports if the Americans did not receive redress of grievances. All the Resolves were approved by the gentlemen freeholders of Fairfax County on July 18, 1774.


First page of the Fairfax Resolves

Washington carried the Fairfax Resolves to the Virginia Convention in Williamsburg where they were only slightly modified and adopted. The Convention elected delegates to the First Continental Congress to be held in Philadelphia, which then adopted a similar embargo to the one proposed by George Mason. The influence of the planter from Gunston Hall had thus influenced a national audience, and it would prove only the first of the brilliant Virginian&rsquos ideas to influence the decisions of the Founders.

George Mason&rsquos refusal to sign the proposed Constitution of the United States, to which he made significant contributions, thirteen years later, hinged on its lack of a Bill of Rights, subordination of states&rsquo rights, and failure to abolish the slave trade. But that is another story.


Payne Family History

July 5th 1774 George Washington and others from Fairfax County met in Alexandria to appoint a committee to draft a statement that would, as Washington described it, “define our Constitutional Rights”. The Committee of Safety, as they were called, were formed all over the colonies and were made up of several prominent Fairfax residents, they became the shadow government that took control of the colonies away from the royal officials who because increasingly helpless.

In researching the Fairfax Resolves I noticed that most online documents only include the first 24 Resolves and not the 25th. I found the complete copy of the Fairfax Resolves at Gunston Hall (home of George Mason). The original is at the Library of Congress. Resolve 25 is one of the most import (well to me at least), it is a list of all the people on the committee who signed the resolves.

Note: Information below taken from the Fairfax Resolves Booklet provided by the Fairfax County courthouse.

In the heat of late July, 1774, t wo promi nent citizens of Fairfax County make their way to Williamsburg to attend an outlaw convention. George Washington and Charles Broadwater carry with them the “resolves” detailing Fairfax County’s opposition to the most recent actions of British Crown and Parliament. The “Fairfax Resolves” were a small but significant part of the drama that paved the way for the uniting of Britain’s American colonies and ultimately the Colonies’ declaration of independence from England in 1776.

1774 had been a turbulent year in the Colonies. Reacting to the Boston Tea Party and the growing revolutionary fervor in Massachusetts, the British closed the Port of Boston, dissolved the Massachusetts legislation and instituted a series of measures that became known as the Intolerable Acts as punishment. Outraged at the treatment of Massachusetts, the Virginia House of Burgesses formally protested the Boston Port Act which closed Boston to all shipping. The royal governor promptly dissolved the House to express British displeasure that Virginia dared to support its northern neighbor and question the actions of the Crown.

Deciding not to retire meekly, the now dispossessed members of the House decided to hold a convention of Virginia’s counties on August 1, 1774 to respond to British actions. The members dispersed to their counties to determine where their residents stood and to receive instructions for the Convention.

Fairfax residents met and on July 18, 1774 and approved the Fairfax Resolves. With George Washington serving as Chairman of the drafting committee and assisted by several prominent Fairfax residents, including George Mason, the Resolves clearly delineated the mistakes, depredations and crimes of the Crown that violated the rights of free Englishmen.

The Fairfax Resolves were the most detailed and comprehensive of any of the Virginia Counties and included resolves against taxation without representation and the importation of slaves. In addition, Fairfax called for the establishment of a Congress including all colonies. George Washington and Charles Broadwater were elected to present the resolves at the Convention charging them to “…present these Resolves as sense of the people of this county upon the measures proper to be taken in the present alarming and dangerous situation of American.”

The Fairfax Resolves were part of the framework uniting the shipping and mercantile interests of Massachusetts with the agricultural, plantation economy of Virginia. The joining of Virginia and Massachusetts in common cause was necessary to unite all the colonies which, in turn, permitted July 4, 1776 to happen.

In its “Top Treasures” exhibit, the Library of Congress describes the Fairfax County Resolves as the first clear expression of the constitutional rights of the British American colonists as subjects of the Crown.


Fairfax County History

Sunday, November 01, 1693
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Baron of Cameron, born at Leeds Castle, Kent England

Friday, December 21, 1725
George Mason IV of Gunston Hall born

Wednesday, May 03, 1730
Prince William County formed from the Counties of Stafford and King George

Monday, November 17, 1732
Vestry of Truro Parish holds first meeting

Thursday, March 26, 1733
Truro Parish Vestry agrees to build the Falls Church

Tuesday, June 19, 1742
General Assembly of Virginia authorizes the formation of Fairfax County from Prince William County

Sunday, December 16, 1742
First court convenes in Fairfax County near current day Tysons Corner

Friday, April 16, 1745
British Privy Court grants clear title to the Northern Neck Propriety to Thomas Fairfax, Sixth Baron of Cameron

Sunday, May 11, 1749
Town of Alexandria Established

Wednesday, June 11, 1749
Cameron Parish formed in western Fairfax County (present day Loudoun County)

Tuesday, April 25, 1752
Fairfax County Court moves from Tyson Corner area to Town of Alexandria

Tuesday, November 27, 1753
Town of Colchester established on the Occoquan River

Saturday, April 12, 1755
Gen. Edward Braddock departs Alexandria upon his ill-fated expedition against the French

Saturday, September 03, 1757
William Fairfax dies at his home "Belvoir"

Saturday, January 06, 1759
George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis

Wednesday, February 12, 1772
Town of Philee established on the land of Phillip Ludwell Lee near Great Falls

Thursday, July 14, 1774
George Washington and Charles Broadwater selected as delegates to the first Virginia Convention

Monday, July 18, 1774
Fairfax Resolves written by George Mason, presented at Gadsby&rsquos Tavern, Alexandria, Va.

Monday, August 01, 1774
Fairfax Resolves taken to the Continental Congress

Wednesday, September 21, 1774
Fairfax Independent Company of Volunteers formed

Thursday, June 15, 1775
George Washington appointed commander of the Continental Army

Wednesday, June 12, 1776
Virginia Declaration of Rights, authored by George Mason, adopted by the General Assembly of Virginia

Saturday, June 15, 1776
George Washington appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army

Wednesday, June 26, 1776
Constitution of Virginia (authored by George Mason) adopted

Saturday, June 29, 1776
Constitution of Virginia, authored by George Mason, adopted by the General Assembly of Virginia

Tuesday, May 17, 1785
Patowmack Canal Co. Organized. George Washington is first President

Monday, December 20, 1790
Town of Matildaville Established at Great Falls

Sunday, September 30, 1792
Thomas Jefferson is the last official visitor to Gunston Hall before the death of George Mason

Monday, November 12, 1792
Town of Centreville Established by Act of the Virginia General Assembly

Monday, December 31, 1798
Town of South Haven by Act of the Virginia General Assembly established on the land of John Mason on the Patowmack River

Monday, December 31, 1798
Town of Turberville established by Act of the Virginia General Assembly on the land of John Turberville near the Little Falls of the Patowmack

Saturday, December 14, 1799
George Washington dies at his home "Mount Vernon"

Monday, April 21, 1800
First meeting of the Fairfax County Court in the 3rd Courthouse (Fairfax)

Sunday, February 14, 1802
Potowmack Canal around Great Falls opens

Monday, January 14, 1805
Town of Providence (later Fairfax) Established by Act of the Virginia General Assembly

Saturday, October 11, 1806
First stretch of the Little River Turnpike opened

Wednesday, August 24, 1814
British Troops invade and burn Washington, D. C. President and Mrs. James Madison flee into Fairfax County by separate routes, finally reuniting at Salona, in present day McLean.

Sunday, April 27, 1817
Pohick Church Post Office Established

Wednesday, January 08, 1823
Dranesville Post Office Established

Monday, February 27, 1832
Chantilly Post Office Established

Tuesday, December 19, 1837
Hachalia Bailey buys property that will eventually become Baileys Crossroads

Wednesday, December 27, 1837
Annandale Post Office Established

Tuesday, February 07, 1843
Town of Alexandria becomes a City by Act of the Virginia General Assembly

Thursday, October 01, 1846
William Garges conveys lot on Columbia Pike to the (Annandale) Methodist Church

Monday, October 26, 1846
Langley Post Office Established

Thursday, May 03, 1849
Accotink Post Office Established

Tuesday, April 22, 1851
Peach Grove Post Office Established at what will later be Tysons Corner

Monday, March 08, 1852
Burke&rsquos Station Post Office Established

Wednesday, April 07, 1852
Fairfax Station Post Office Established

Thursday, September 14, 1854
Silas Burke, after whom Burke, Va. is named, dies

Monday, June 08, 1857
Ayr Hill Post Office established

Tuesday, July 13, 1858
Herndon Post Office Established

Sunday, September 19, 1858
St. Mary's Catholic Church, Fairfax Station, Va. Dedicated. First Catholic church in Fairfax County

Tuesday, July 10, 1860
Hunter&rsquos Mill Post Office Established

Thursday, May 23, 1861
Fairfax County votes to secede from the Union

Friday, May 24, 1861
Troops of the United States Army occupy Alexandria, Va.

Monday, May 27, 1861
Pvt. Peyton Anderson, C.S.A. is wounded and captured while on picket duty near present day Fairfax Circle. First Confederate soldier wounded in action

Saturday, June 01, 1861
Skirmish at Fairfax C. H. Capt. John Quincy Marr is first Confederate officer killed in battle

Tuesday, July 02, 1861
First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run)

Tuesday, October 01, 1861
C. S. A. President Jefferson Davis meets with Gens. Johnston, Beauregard, and Smith at Fairfax C. H.

Wednesday, November 20, 1861
Pres. Abraham Lincoln reviews 75,000 Troops at Bailey&rsquos Crossroads. Spectator Julia Ward Howe is inspired to pen &ldquoThe Battle Hymn of the Republic&rdquo

Monday, December 02, 1861
Confederate Cavalry attacks Union troops stationed at Annandale, killing 1 and capturing 14

Tuesday, August 26, 1862
Confederate forces under the command of Gen. Stonewall Jackson capture Manassas, Va., burning large quantities of supplies

Friday, August 29, 1862
Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run)

Sunday, August 31, 1862
Clara Barton arrives at Fairfax Station to care for wounded from 2nd Battle of Manassas

Monday, September 01, 1862
Battle of Chantilly. Union Generals Philip Kearny and Isaac Stevens are killed

Monday, March 09, 1863
Lt. John S. Mosby, C. S. A., with 29 of his men, enters Fairfax C. H. and captures Union Gen. Edwin Stoughton

Monday, March 16, 1863
Antonia Ford arrested for her alleged involvement in Mosby's capture of Gen. Stoughton

Tuesday, March 17, 1863
Antonia Ford and several others arrested for allegedly spying for Mosby, and taken to the Old Capital Prison, Washington, D. C.

Thursday, July 30, 1863
West Ford dies, former slave of George Washington who owned 214 acre Gum Spring Farm

Tuesday, August 11, 1863
Confederate cavalry under the command of Capt. John S. Mosby capture a Union wagon train at Annandale, Va.

Thursday, March 10, 1864
Joseph C. Willard and Antonia Ford married at the Metropolitan Hotel, Washington, D. C.

Saturday, March 18, 1865
Freedman&rsquos Relief Association formed to assist ex-slaves in the south

Sunday, April 09, 1865
Gen. Robert E. Lee, C.S.A., surrenders his forces at Appomattox, Va.

Monday, April 10, 1865
Cavalry skirmish at Arundell&rsquos Tavern near Burke&rsquos Station. Last major Civil War action in Fairfax County

Monday, December 31, 1866
2 1/3 ac. Parcel on Main Street, Fairfax, Va. is deeded to the Ladies Memorial Association for a cemetery for Confederate dead (Fairfax Cemetery)

Thursday, June 30, 1870
Lincolnia Post Office Established

Monday, July 25, 1870
First Meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Sunday, September 18, 1870
Thomas Moore named first Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools

Saturday, March 13, 1875
Fairfax Cemetery conveyed to the Fairfax Cemetery Association

Tuesday, March 30, 1875
Town of Falls Church Incorporated

Saturday, December 11, 1875
Lorton Post Office Established

Tuesday, February 12, 1878
Bull Run Post Office Established

Monday, March 11, 1878
Great Falls Post Office Established

Saturday, August 10, 1878
Gunston Post Office Established

Tuesday, January 14, 1879
Act to Incorporate the Town of Herndon

Wednesday, January 24, 1883
Oakton Post Office Established

Wednesday, September 19, 1883
Vale Post Office Established

Friday, July 02, 1886
The Fairfax Herald announces the formation of the Independent Order of Good Templars in Annandale (All genders and ethnicities were accepted)

Sunday, March 11, 1888
Blizzard of 1888. 12" of wet snow downs Telegraph and Electrical Lines. High winds and very low temperatures literally blow the Potomac River from its channel

Tuesday, February 26, 1889
Frying Pan Post Office Established (renamed Floris in 1892)

Tuesday, February 25, 1890
Town of Vienna Incorporated

Thursday, May 22, 1890
Merrifield Post Office Established

Wednesday, October 01, 1890
Confederate Monument dedicated at Fairfax Cemetery

Tuesday, February 16, 1892
Town of Fairfax Incorporated

Monday, November 13, 1893
Gen. Charles H. Tompkins, U. S. Army, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for action at Fairfax C. H., June 1, 1861. He &ldquotwice charged through the enemy&rsquos lines and, taking a carbine from an enlisted man, shot the enemy&rsquos captain (Capt. John Q. Marr)

Wednesday, February 09, 1898
Town of Wiehle Incorporated by Act of the Virginia General Assembly

Friday, May 13, 1898
Camp Russell A. Alger open at Falls Church, Va. Training center for troops during the Spanish American War

Sunday, February 05, 1899
&ldquoSnow King&rdquo Blizzard of 1899. Between Feb. 5 and Feb. 14 some 35" of snow accompanied by high winds create drifts 10" high

Friday, April 12, 1901
Telephone installed at the home of Dr. Leith, 135 Park St., Vienna, Va.

Monday, March 10, 1902
Town of Clifton Incorporated by Act of the Virginia General Assembly

Wednesday, June 01, 1904
John Q. Marr Monument dedicated on the Fairfax County Courthouse lawn

Thursday, September 15, 1904
Federal soldiers pass through Fairfax on their way to war games held at Manassas (@25,000 U. S. Army and National Guard troops replicated the strategic maneuvers of the 2nd Battle of Manassas as crowds of sightseers look observe)

Wednesday, March 07, 1906
Washington & Old Dominion Railroad begins operation to Difficult Run, near Great Falls

Thursday, June 04, 1908
Susan Reviere Hetzel of Clifton, Va. Dies. One of the organizers of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution

Monday, July 11, 1910
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers purchases former Belvoir estate. New post is named Camp A. A. Humphries, later changed to Fort Belvoir

Wednesday, May 31, 1911
McLean Post Office Established

Monday, October 18, 1915
Will of Martha Washington returned to Clerk of Fairfax County Circuit Court after a 52 year sojourn

Thursday, March 22, 1917
Fire destroys much of the Town of Herndon's Business District

Tuesday, September 28, 1920
Annandale Grange organized (Unit #737 of the Patrons of Husbandry)

Saturday, October 09, 1920
Great Falls Grange organized (Unit #738 of the Patrons of Husbandry)

Thursday, September 01, 1921
Annandale Grange (Unit #737 of the Patrons of Husbandry) receives its charter

Saturday, January 28, 1922
&ldquoKnickerbocker Snow&rdquo of 1922. @26" of wet snow blankets the region. The heavy accumulation collapses the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington, killing 98 and injuring 133.

Wednesday, September 06, 1922
First meeting of the Fairfax County School Board

Friday, April 17, 1925
Invitation to join newly formed Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce published in the Fairfax Herald

Saturday, June 26, 1926
War Memorial Monument (WW I) dedicated on the Fairfax Courthouse lawn by the Fairfax County Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution

Friday, May 27, 1927
Monument erected near Fairfax Circle to commemorate the capture of Pvt. Peyton Anderson, first Confederate soldier wounded in the Civil War

Wednesday, February 20, 1929
Gallows Road near Merrifield graveled

Thursday, September 12, 1929
Fairfax Hunt requests registration from Masters of Foxhounds Association of America

Tuesday, June 03, 1930
Legato School closes

Friday, May 01, 1931
Fairfax Rotary Club Chartered

Tuesday, June 01, 1937
Monument to John S. Mosby&rsquos March 8, 1863 raid dedicated at Truro Episcopal Church by Fairfax Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy

Wednesday, February 01, 1939
BOS votes $250 to fund the countywide library system

Saturday, March 16, 1940
First Fairfax County Public Library Bookmobile begins operation

Monday, July 01, 1940
Fairfax County Police Department formed

Saturday, February 08, 1941
R. Walton Moore dies, U. S. Congressman (1919-1931) and Asst. Secretary of State (1933-1941)

Tuesday, May 05, 1942
Great Falls Volunteer Fire Department Organized

Saturday, July 06, 1946
League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area formed

Friday, May 09, 1947
Burke Communities Civic Association formed

Thursday, June 22, 1950
Dickey&rsquos Tavern burns, last original building from Town of Matildaville

Wednesday, December 06, 1950
Fairfax County Park Authority created

Wednesday, June 13, 1951
U. S. Department of Justice posts a notice at the Burke Post Office announcing its intention to condemn 4520 ac. to build an international airport for Washington, D. C.

Tuesday, January 01, 1952
First meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) under the County Executive form of Government. Mr. G. W. Carper elected Chairman, Mrs. Edna A. Bicksler appointed Clerk of the Board, and Mr. Carlton C. Massey appointed County Executive. Mr. R. M.

Thursday, August 06, 1953
BOS approves the first land purchase for parks in Fairfax County

Friday, April 02, 1954
Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Incorporated

Wednesday, September 01, 1954
Luther Jackson H. S. opens. In segregated Fairfax County, this was the first and only public high school that African American students could attend.

Saturday, September 25, 1954
First Annandale Day celebration held. Annandale Veterans Memorial (Cannon) dedicated by American Legion Post 107

Thursday, October 4, 1956
Seven Corners Shopping Center is dedicated and becomes the first major shopping center to open in suburban Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, October 10, 1956
Fairfax County Economic Development Authority created

Monday, September 23, 1957
University College of the University of Virginia (later George Mason College) opens at Baileys Crossroads

Tuesday, December 31, 1957
Town of Vienna annexes 2.04 square miles of Fairfax Co.

Thursday, September 03, 1959
&ldquoOssian Hall&rdquo is burned as a training exercise by the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department

Tuesday, December 01, 1959
Sully Plantation leased to Fairfax County Park Authority

Saturday, December 12, 1959
University College renamed George Mason College

Wednesday, September 28, 1960
19 African American students integrate 8 whites-only Fairfax County public schools.

Saturday, October 15, 1960
Plaque honoring Fairfax County men killed in WW II and Korea added to the War Memorial Monument, Fairfax County Courthouse

Monday, February 06, 1961
Fairfax Hospital opens ½ hour early, due to early arrival of baby

Saturday, June 24, 1961
W. T. Woodson retires after 32 years as Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools

Friday, June 30, 1961
Town of Fairfax becomes a City of the 2nd Class by order of the Fairfax County Circuit Court

Saturday, April 21, 1962
City of Fairfax takes control of Fairfax City Cemetery

Monday, November 19, 1962
Dulles International Airport opens

Monday, July 15, 1963
Clay C. Harrell appointed Vienna Town Manager

Monday, August 17, 1964
Last section of Capital Beltway (Rte. 495) formally opened

Wednesday, December 09, 1964
First family (Samuel & Katie Furcrum of Waterview) moves into Reston

Wednesday, September 08, 1965
First day of class for completely desegregated Fairfax County Public Schools

Monday, September 20, 1965
Regular classes begin at Northern Virginia Technical College (later Northern Virginia Community College)

Saturday, January 29, 1966
Blizzard of 1966. 12" - 24" of snow followed by winds up to 50 mph create drifts 10' high

Monday, April 11, 1966
Sgt. James W. Robinson, Jr., U. S. Army is killed in Viet Nam. Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry

Saturday, May 21, 1966
Official Dedication of Reston held at Lake Anne Plaza.

Friday, April 14, 1967
Northern Virginia Community College graduates its first class

Monday, August 07, 1967
Ground broken for Massey Building

Thursday, July 25, 1968
Tysons Corner Mall opens

Wednesday, September 04, 1968
BOS adopts Fair Housing Ordinance

Monday, September 09, 1968
Fairfax County opens new Kindergarten program, 8000 children enrolled

Wednesday, December 10, 1969
Flag raised for the first time at the Massey Building

Monday, March 15, 1971
George J. Kelley, Jr. assumes post of County Executive upon the retirement of Carlton C. Massey

Thursday, July 01, 1971
Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts opens

Wednesday, March 01, 1972
George Mason University created by Virginia General Assembly

Friday, March 02, 1973
Skyline Towers collapse, Baileys Crossroads, Va.

Sunday, April 01, 1973
Tornado touches down three times in central Fairfax County damaging homes in Middleridge Subdivision and the Zion Drive area and tearing the roof from Pickett Shopping Center. Extensive property damage, but only two serious injuries

Wednesday, April 11, 1973
Fairfax Station, Fairfax County&rsquos last operating railroad station, closes

Tuesday, May 29, 1973
Robert W. Wilson appointed County Executive (acting in post since October 30, 1972)

Friday, August 16, 1974
Women&rsquos Center of Northern Virginia formed

Monday, September 08, 1975
Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan adopted

Friday, January 16, 1976
J. Hamilton Lambert made acting County Executive upon the resignation of Robert W. Wilson

Monday, May 24, 1976
Concorde (SST) makes its first flight into Dulles International Airport

Monday, June 21, 1976
Leonard L. Whorton appointed County Executive

Saturday, June 26, 1976
Freeman House museum opens

Thursday, February 03, 1977
Dr. Edwin B. Henderson dies, Founder Fairfax County Chapter, NAACP

Saturday, May 07, 1977
Dedication of Wakefield Recreation Center, Annandale, Va. First public indoor recreation center in Fairfax County

Friday, July 14, 1978
Skyline Shopping Center open, Bailey&rsquos Crossroads

Wednesday, November 01, 1978
J. Hamilton Lambert made acting County Executive upon the resignation of Leonard L. Whorton

Sunday, May 20, 1979
Reston Community Center opens at Hunters Woods Center

Saturday, June 23, 1979
Omer Hirst is named Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce&rsquos first Citizen of the Year

Monday, September 03, 1979
Remnants of Hurricane David drops heavy rains and spawns a tornado that damages Woodson H. S. and several adjacent structures

Thursday, July 31, 1980
Fair Oaks Mall opens

Monday, August 04, 1980
J. Hamilton Lambert appointed County Executive

Tuesday, September 02, 1980
Terre Centre Elementary School opens

Thursday, January 13, 1982
Air Florida Flight 90 (Boeing 737) crashes into the Potomac River just after takeoff from National Airport

Sunday, September 19, 1982
Burke Historical Society sponsors the first Burke Historical Days

Wednesday, December 22, 1982
Interstate Route 66 opens between Rte. 495 and Washington, D. C.

Saturday, January 29, 1983
Ground Broken for Dulles Toll Road

Friday, February 11, 1983
Blizzard of 1983 drops 22" of snow on Fairfax

Wednesday, November 02, 1983
Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House (c. 1791) accepted by Fairfax County Park Authority

Thursday, October 16, 1986
Announcement that Dr. James M. Buchanan, Jr. (1919-2013 ), George Mason University, awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics "for his development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision-making."

Thursday, March 12, 1987
Reston Town Center plan approved by BOS

Thursday, June 23, 1988
Reston Town Center groundbreaking

Monday, December 31, 1990
Richard A. King appointed acting County Executive upon the resignation of J. Hamilton Lambert

Monday, May 27, 1991
Plaque honoring Fairfax County men killed in Vietnam added to the War Memorial Monument, Fairfax County Courthouse

Tuesday, May 19, 1992
"Mount Air", Lorton, Va. destroyed by fire

Saturday, July 04, 1992
Official opening of the Fairfax Museum and Vistors Center

Tuesday, September 01, 1992
William J. Leidinger appointed County Executive

Sunday, January 15, 1995
"Turley Hall", Chantilly, Va. destroyed by fire

Sunday, May 12, 1996
BOS is one of the last agencies to move into the new Fairfax County Government Center

Saturday, June 08, 1996
BOS holds its first meeting in the Fairfax County Government Center

Friday, June 21, 1996
Olympic Flame carried through Fairfax County on its way to the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga.

Monday, July 01, 1996
Alan G. Merton takes office as the fifth president of George Mason University

Monday, October 28, 1996
William J. Leidiger fired as County Executive. Anthony H. Griffin made acting County Executive

Monday, June 09, 1997
Robert J. O&rsquoNeill, Jr. appointed County Executive

Monday, November 22, 1999
Anthony H. Griffin selected as County Executive, to become effective Jan. 15, 2000

Saturday, January 15, 2000
Anthony H. Griffin took office and served at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors

Monday, November 27, 2000
Reston's Dogwood Elementary School destroyed by fire

Friday, April 13, 2001
New Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station 39 (North Point) opened

Thursday, November 1, 2001
Final segment of the Fairfax County parkway completed

Friday, September 19, 2002
New MICROSOFT Innovation and Technology Center opened

Monday, May 27, 2002
Veterans' Memorial dedicated on Herndon Town Green

Tuesday, September 2, 2003
New Lorton Station Elementary School opened

Monday, December 15, 2003
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Smithsonian's second air and space Museum, opened

Thursday, July 1, 2004
Dr. Jack D. Dale became the new Superintendent of Fairfax County Schools, with a 5 year contract

Friday, September 17, 2004
Mrs. Martha Pennino (nicknamed "Mother Fairfax"), who served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from 1968 to 1991, died

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Fairfax City celebrated its 200th birthday (i.e., January 14, 1805)

Friday, May 20, 2005
Dedication of the historical marker commemorating the 1954 founding of the Luther P. Jackson High School (now the Luther P. Jackson Middle School)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The WMAA received $200,000,000 Federal funding for building a 4th runway at Dulles Airport

Friday, April 7, 2006
Fairfax City hosts a parade for the George Mason University men's basketball team for making the NCAA's "final four" - a GMU first

Saturday, September 29, 2007
New Oakton Library opened

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Ira Gabrielson State Historic Marker dedicated at Oakton Library

Saturday, June 21, 2008
Construction work started on the Virginia "Hot Lanes" project, on the section of Interstate 495, between Springfield and Tysons Corner

Tuesday, July 1, 2008
New Burke Center Library opened

Saturday, January 26, 2008
New City of Fairfax Regional Library opened

Thursday, September 10, 2009
Dr. Jack D. Dale's contract, as the Superintendent of Fairfax County Schools, was renewed for 4 years

Friday, February 5, 2010
"Historic" blizzard of 2010 dropped 32" of snow on Fairfax County

Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Rare 5.8 magnitude earthquake originating in Louisa County, Virginia, strikes the East Coast, effecting Fairfax County

Thursday, November 10, 2011
Anthony H. Griffin announces his retirement as County Executive effective April 24, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The Board of Supervisors appoints Edward L. Long Jr. as County Executive effective April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Anthony H. Griffin retires as County Executive, having served in that role for over twelve years

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Edward L. Long Jr. appointed as County Executive by the Board of Supervisors

Friday, June 29, 2012
Severe Derecho weather event hit Fairfax County with winds in excess of 70-100 mph

Friday, January 22, 2016
Winter Storm Jonas drops 30&rdquo of snow on Fairfax County

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Edward L. Long Jr. announces his retirement as County Executive effective September 15, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Kirk W. Kincannon appointed as Acting County Executive by the Board of Supervisors effective September 16, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Bryan Hill appointed County Executive by the Board of Supervisors effective January 2, 2018


homas Jefferson said of George Mason, “He was one of our greatest men, and of the first order of greatness.” He was one of the chief architects of the United States Constitution, yet he refused to sign it, and joined with Patrick Henry to defeat its ratification in the Virginia Convention. He was a neighbor and good friend of George Washington but spent his final years estranged from him over Washington’s support of the Constitution. Mason was, perhaps, the chief architect of freedom in Virginia but disliked politics and refused to serve in the national government his chief building duties centered on the improvements to his estate, Gunston Hall, and raising his family. He is a Founding Father we should all remember.


George Mason (1725-1792)

Mason ran successfully for the Virginia House of Burgesses but was too busy to invest much of his time there and did not stand for reelection at the beginning of the crucial first period of tax protests. Nonetheless, due to the esteem in which he was held, the sage of Gunston Hall was consulted by other burgesses for strategies to defeat the Stamp tax. After that success, Mason drafted a response to the Townshend Duties to institute non-importation (boycott), which the Virginia legislature adopted. The Royal Governor dissolved the House.


Old Capitol Building, Williamsburg

When information arrived in the capitol at Williamsburg regarding the “Intolerable Acts” targeting Massachusetts, George Mason happened to be in town on business. Patrick Henry, Richard Lee and Thomas Jefferson asked Mason to join them to help formulate a response. When they passed a resolution enjoining a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, the Royal Governor dissolved the legislature again. Mason’s district wanted to elect him to the Virginia Convention but he turned them down to stay home with his nine living children, his wife of twenty-three years having recently died giving birth to their thirteenth.


Patrick Henry (1736-1799)


On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the Fairfax Resolves Chapter, Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution (VASSAR), hosted the 244th Anniversary of the signing of the Fairfax Resolves. The celebration took place in the historic Fairfax Courthouse in Fairfax. The Colonel William Grayson Chapter was represented by four members who participated in the ceremony, the color guard and the presentation of wreaths. Those Compatriots present were Mike Weyler, Leamon Duncan, Jacob Duncan and Don McAndrews.

The Fairfax Resolves was a set of resolutions adopted by a committee chaired by George Washington in Fairfax County in the colony of Virginia on July 18, 1774, in the early stages of the American Revolution. The resolutions, written primarily by George Mason, rejected the British Parliament's claim of supreme authority over the American colonies. More than thirty counties in Virginia passed similar resolutions in 1774, but the Fairfax Resolves were felt by many to be the most detailed, the most influential, and the most radical.

The main focus of the program was the reading of a number of the resolutions by interpretive readers, most of whom were in period dress, speaking as various members of the original committee, including a couple of readings and interpretations by George Mason, portrayed by Don McAndrews.

A highlight for the Colonel William Grayson Chapter was the chance to conduct a Sons of the American Revolution induction ceremony immediately following the celebration of the Resolves. Leamon Duncan’s grandson, Jacob Michael Duncan, who lives in Omaha, Neb., was approved as a Junior Member in 2017 but had never been formally inducted into the SAR. Since Jacob was visiting Leamon for the week, the Fairfax Resolves Chapter granted the privilege of inducting him into the SAR as an adjunct to the Fairfax Resolves Ceremony.


Fairfax Resolves

The Fairfax Resolves was a set of resolutions adopted by a committee of safety in Fairfax County, Virginia Colony, on 18 July 1774.

FAIRFAX COUNTY (VIRGINIA) RESOLUTIONS.

At a General Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the County of Fairfax, at the Court House in the Town of Alexandria, on Monday, the 18th day of July, 1774:

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esquire, Chairman, and
ROBERT HARRISON, Gentleman, Clerk.

Resolved, That this Colony and Dominion of Virginia cannot be considered as a conquered country, and, if it was, that the present inhabitants are the descendants, not of the conquered, but of the conquerors. That the same was not settled at the national expense of England, but at the private expense of the adventurers, our ancestors, by solemn compact with, and under the auspices and protection of, the British Crown, upon which we are, in every respect, as dependent as the people of Great Britain, and in the same manner subject to all his Majesty's just, legal, and constitutional prerogatives that our ancestors, when they left their native land, and settled in America, brought with them, even if the same had not been confirmed by Charters, the civil Constitution and form of Government of the country they came from, and were by the laws of nature and Nations entitled to all its privileges, immunities, and advantages, which have descended to us, their posterity, and ought of right to be as fully enjoyed as if we had still continued within the Realm of England.

Resolved, That the most important and valuable part of the British Constitution, upon which its very existence depends, Is the fundamental principle of the people's being governed by no laws to which they have not given their consent by Representatives freely chosen by themselves, who are affected by the laws they enact equally with their constituents, to whom they are accountable, and whose burthens they share, in which consists the safety and happiness of the community for if this part of the Constitution was taken away, or materially altered, the Government must degenerate either into an absolute and despotick monarchy, or a tyrannical aristocracy, and the freedom of the people be annihilated.

Resolved, Therefore, as the inhabitants of the American Colonies are not, and from their situation, cannot be represented in the British Parliament that the Legislative power here can, of right, be exercised only by our Provincial Assemblies, or Parliaments, subject to the assent or negative of the British Crown, to be declared within some proper limited time but as it was thought just and reasonable that the people of Great Britain should reap advantages from the Colonies adequate to the protection they afforded them, the British Parliament have claimed and exercised the power of regulating our trade and commerce, so as to restrain our importing from foreign countries such articles as they could furnish us with, of their own growth and manufacture, or exporting to foreign countries such articles and portions of our produce as Great Britain stood in need of, for her own consumption or manufacture. Such a power directed with wisdom and moderation, seems necessary for the general good of that great body politick of which we are a part, although in some degree repugnant to the principles of the Constitution. Under this idea, our ancestors submitted to it, the experience of more than a century, during the government of his Majesty's royal predecessors, have proved its utility, and the reciprocal benefits flowing from it produced mutual uninterrupted harmony and good will between the inhabitants of Great Britain and her Colonies, who during that long period always considered themselves as one and the same people and though such a power is capable of abuse, and in some instances hath been stretched beyond the original design and institution, yet to avoid strife and contention with our fellow-subjects, and strongly impressed with the experience of mutual benefits, we always cheerfully acquiesced in it while the entire regulation of our internal policy, and giving and granting our own money, were preserved to our own Provincial Legislatures.

Resolved, That it is the duty of these Colonies, on all emergencies, to contribute in proportion to their abilities, situation, and circumstances, to the necessary charge of supporting and defending the British Empire, of which they are a part that while we are treated upon an equal footing with our fellow-subjects, the motives of self-interest and preservation will be a sufficient obligation, as was evident through the course of the last war and that no argument can be fairly applied to the British Parliament's taxing us, upon a presumption that we should refuse a just and reasonable contribution, but will equally operate in justification of the Executive power taxing the people of England, upon a supposition of their Representatives refusing to grant the necessary supplies.

Resolved, That the claim lately assumed and exercised by the British Parliament for making all such laws as they think fit to govern the people of these Colonies, and to extort from us our money without our consent, is not only diametrically contrary to the first principles of the Constitution and the original compacts by which we are dependent upon the British Crown and Government, but is totally incompatible with the privileges of a free people and the natural rights of mankind, will render our own Legislatures merely nominal and nugatory, and is calculated to reduce us from a state of freedom and happiness to slavery and misery.

Resolved, That taxation and representation are in their nature inseparable that the right of withholding, or of giving and granting their own money, is the only effectual security to a free people against the encroachments of despotism and tyranny and that whenever they yield the one, they must quickly fall a prey to the other.

Resolved, That the powers over the people of America, now claimed by the British House of Commons, in whose election we have no share in whose determinations we have no influence whose information must be always defective, and often false who in many instances may have a separate, and in some an opposite interest to ours and who are removed from those impressions of tenderness and compassion, arising from personal intercourse and connection, which soften the rigours of the most despotick Governments, must, if continued, establish the most grievous and intolerable species of tyranny and oppression that ever was inflicted upon mankind.

Resolved, That it is our greatest wish and inclination, as well as interest, to continue our connection with, and dependence upon, the British Government but though we are its subjects, we will use every means which Heaven hath given us to prevent our becoming its slaves.

Resolved, That there is a premeditated design and system formed and pursued by the British Ministry to introduce an arbitrary Government into his Majesty's American Dominions, to which end they are artfully prejudicing our Sovereign and inflaming the minds of our fellow-subjects in Great Britain, by propagating the most malevolent falsehoods, particularly that there is an intention in the American Colonies to set up for independent states, endeavouring at the same time, by various acts of violence and oppression, by sudden and repeated dissolutions of our Assemblies, whenever they presume to examine the illegality of Ministerial mandates, or deliberate on the violated rights of their constituents, and by breaking in upon the American Charters, to reduce us to a state of desperation, and dissolve the original compact, by which our ancestors bound themselves and their posterity to remain dependent upon the British Crown which measures, unless effectually counteracted, will end in the ruin, both of Great Britain and her Colonies.

Resolved, That the several Acts of Parliament for raising a revenue upon the people of America, without their consent the erecting new and dangerous jurisdictions here the taking away our trials by jury the ordering persons, upon criminal accusations, to be tried in another country than that in which the fact is charged to have been committed the Act inflicting Ministerial vengeance upon the town of Boston and the two Bills lately brought into Parliament for abrogating the Charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and for the protection and encouragement of murderers in the said Province, are part of the above mentioned iniquitous system that the inhabitants of the town of Boston are now suffering in the common cause of all British America, and are justly entitled to its support and assistance and, therefore, that a subscription ought immediately to be opened, and proper persons appointed, in every county in this Colony, to purchase provisions and consign them to some gentlemen of character in Boston, to be distributed among the poorer sort of the people there.

Resolved, That we will cordially join with our friends and brethren of this and the other Colonies, in such measures as shall be judged most effectual, for procuring a redress of our grievances and that, upon obtaining such redress, if the destruction of the tea at Boston be regarded as an invasion of private property, we shall be willing to contribute towards paying the East India Company the value but, as we consider the said Company as the tools and instruments of oppression in the hands of Government, and the cause of the present distress, it is the opinion of this meeting, that the people of these Colonies should forbear all further dealings with them, by refusing to purchase their merchandise, until that peace, safety, and good order, which they have disturbed, be perfectly restored and that all tea now in this Colony, or which shall be imported into it, shipped before the first day of September next, should be deposited in some store-house to be appointed by the respective Committees of each county, until a sufficient sum of money be raised, by subscription, to reimburse the owners the value, and then to be publickly burnt and destroyed and if the same is not paid for and destroyed as aforesaid, that it remain in the custody of the said Committees, at the risk of the owners, until the Act of Parliament imposing a duty upon tea for raising a revenue in America, be repealed and immediately afterwards be delivered unto the several proprietors thereof, their agents or attornies.

Resolved, That nothing will so much contribute to defeat the pernicious designs of the common enemies of Great Britain and her Colonies, as a firm union of the latter, who ought to regard every act of violence or oppression inflicted upon any one of them, as aimed at all and to effect this desirable purpose, that a Congress should be appointed, to consist of Deputies from all the Colonies, to concert a general and uniform plan for the defence and preservation of our common rights, and continuing the connection and dependence of the said Colonies upon Great Britain, under a just, lenient, permanent, and constitutional form of Government.

Resolved, That our most sincere and cordial thanks be given to the patrons and friends of liberty in Great Britain, for their spirited and patriotick conduct in support of our constitutional rights and privileges, and their generous efforts to prevent the present distress and calamity of America.

Resolved, That every little jarring interest and dispute which hath ever happened between these Colonies, should be buried in eternal oblivion that all manner of luxury and extravagance ought immediately to be laid aside, as totally inconsistent with the threatening and gloomy prospect before us that it is the indispensable duty of all the gentlemen and men of fortunes to set examples of temperance, fortitude, frugality, and industry, and give every encouragement in their power, particularly by subscriptions and premiums, to the improvement of arts and manufactures in America that great care and attention should be had to the cultivation of flax, cotton, and other materials for manufactures and we recommend it to such of the inhabitants as have large stocks of sheep, to sell to their neighbours at a moderate price, as the most certain means of speedily increasing our breed of sheep and quantity of wool.

Resolved, That until American grievances be redressed, by restoration of our just rights and privileges, no goods or merchandise whatsoever ought to be imported into this Colony, which shall be shipped from Great Britain or Ireland, after the first day of September next, except linens not exceeding fifteen pence per yard, coarse woollen cloth, not exceeding two shillings sterling per yard nails, wire, and wire cards, needles and pins, paper, saltpetre, and medicines, which may be imported until the first day of September, 1776 and if any goods or merchandise, other than those hereby excepted, should be shipped from Great Britain after the time aforesaid, to this Colony, that the same, immediately upon their arrival, should either be sent back again by the owners, their agents or attornies, or stored and deposited in some warehouse, to be appointed by the Committee for each respective county, and there kept at the risk and charge of the owners, to be delivered to them when a free importation of goods hither shall again take place and that the merchants and venders of goods and merchandise within this Colony ought not to take advantage of our present distress, but continue to sell the goods and merchandise which they now have, or which may be shipped to them before the first day of September next, at the same rates and prices they have been accustomed to do within one year last past and if any person shall sell such goods on any other terms than above expressed, that no inhabitant of this Colony should, at any time forever thereafter, deal with him, his agent, factor, or storekeeper, for any commodity whatsoever.

Resolved, That it it is the opinion of this meeting, that the merchants and venders of goods and merchandise within this Colony should take an oath not to sell or dispose of any goods or merchandise whatsoever, which may be shipped from Great Britain after the first day of September next, as aforesaid, except the articles before excepted and that they will, upon the receipt of such prohibited goods, either send the same back again by the first opportunity, or deliver them to the Committees of the respective counties, to be deposited in some warehouse, at the risk and charge of the owners, until they, their agents, or factors, shall be permitted to take them away by the said Committees and that the names of those who refuse to take such oath, be advertised by the respective Committees, in the counties wherein they reside and to the end that the inhabitants of this Colony may know what merchants and venders of goods and merchandise have taken such oath, that the respective Committees should grant a certificate thereof to every such person who shall take the same.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, that during our present difficulties and distress, no slaves ought to be imported into any of the British Colonies on this Continent and we take this opportunity of declaring our most earnest wishes to see an entire stop forever put to such a wicked, cruel, and unnatural trade.

Resolved, That no kind of lumber should be exported from this Colony to the West Indies, until America be restored to her constitutional rights and liberties, if the other Colonies will accede to a like resolution: and that it be recommended to the general Congress to appoint as early a day as possible for stopping such exports.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, if American grievances be not redressed before the first day of November, 1775, that all exports of produce from the several Colonies to Great Britain, should cease and to carry the said resolution more effectually into execution, that we will not plant or cultivate any tobacco after the crop now growing, provided the same measure shall be adopted by the other Colonies on this Continent, as well as those who have heretofore made tobacco, as those who have not. And it is our opinion, also, if the Congress of Deputies from the several Colonies shall adopt the measure of non-exportation to Great Britain, as the people will be thereby disabled from paying their debts, that no judgments should be rendered by the Courts in the said Colonies, for any debt, after information of the said measures being determined upon.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, that a Solemn Covenant and Association should be entered into by the inhabitants of all the Colonies, upon oath, that they will not, after the time which shall be respectively agreed on at the general Congress, export any manner of lumber to the West Indies nor any of their produce to Great Britain or sell or dispose of the same to any person who shall not have entered into the said Covenant and Association and also, that they will not import or receive any goods or merchandise which shall be shipped from Great Britain, after the first day of September next, other than the before enumerated articles nor buy or purchase any goods, except as before excepted, of any person whatsoever, who shall not have taken the oath herein before recommended to be taken by the merchants and venders of goods nor buy or purchase any slaves hereafter imported into any part of this Continent, until a free exportation and importation be again resolved on by a majority of the Representatives or Deputies of the Colonies and that the respective Committees of the counties in each Colony, so soon as the Covenant and Association becomes general, publish by advertisements in their several counties, a list of the names of those, (if any such there be) who will not accede thereto, that such traitors to their country may be publickly known and detested.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, that this and the other associating Colonies should break off all trade, intercourse, and dealings, with that Colony, Province, or town, which shall decline or refuse to agree to the plan which shall be adopted by the general Congress.

Resolved, That should the town of Boston be forced to submit to the late cruel and oppressive measures of Government, that we shall not hold the same to be binding upon us, but will, notwithstanding, religiously maintain, and inviolably adhere to, such measures as shall be concerted by the general Congress, for the preservation of our lives, liberties, and fortunes.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the Deputies of the general Congress, to draw up and transmit an humble and dutiful Petition and Remonstrance to his Majesty, asserting in decent firmness our just and constitutional rights and privileges, lamenting the fatal necessity of being compelled to enter into measures disgusting to his Majesty and his Parliament, or injurious to our fellow-subjects in Great Britaindeclaring, in the strongest terms, our duty and affection to his Majesty's person, family, and Government, and our desire forever to continue our dependence upon Great Britain and most humbly conjuring and beseeching his Majesty not to reduce his faithful subjects of America to a state of desperation, and to reflect, that from our Sovereign there can be but one appeal. And it is the opinion of this meeting, that after such Petition and Remonstrance shall have been presented to his Majesty, the same shall be printed in the public papers in all the principal towns in Great Britain.

Resolved, That George Washington, Esquire, and Charles Broadwater, Gentleman, lately elected our Representatives to serve in the General Assembly, attend the Convention at Williamsburg, on the first day of August next, and present these Resolves as the sense of the people of this county upon the measures proper to be taken in the present alarming and dangerous situation of America.

Resolved, That George Washington, Esq., John West, George Mason, William Rumney, William Ramsay, George Gilpton, Robert Hanson Harrison, John Carlyle, Robert Adam, John Dalton, Philip Alexander, James Kirk, William Brown, Charles Broadwater, William Payne, Martin Cockburne, Lee Massey, William Hartshorne, Thomas Triplett, Charles Alexander, Thomas Pollard, Townsend Dade, Jr., Edward Payne, Henry Gunnell, and Thomas Lewis, be a Committee for this county that they, or a majority of them, on any emergency, have power to call a general meeting, and to concert and adopt such measures as may be thought most expedient and necessary.

Resolved, That a copy of these Proceedings be transmitted to the Printer at Williamsburg, to be published.


Fairfax Resolves - History

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Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1770s

The people were getting tired of the overarching rules, regulations, and taxes of the British Crown, perhaps no more so than in Boston where a massacre would occur. So a Tea Party would be held, declarations and Congresses made, then a war with shots ringing out from Princeton to Saratoga to Yorktown. But it would take much longer than this one decade to win that war and to form a true government. The American Revolution would seep into the next decade and the first President not in office til after that.

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1774 Detail

September 21, 1774 - George Mason and George Washington form the Fairfax County Militia Association, which is independent of British control. It would consist of no more than one hundred men.

It was coming to that point when men, such as George Washington, who had been loyal to the crown and military officers of the British government, were thinking about the rights and liberties of the American colonies. In May, the Virginia House of Burgesses had been dissolved, because the Royal Governor, John Murray, Lord Dunmore, of course loyal to the British, disagreed with their support for the Bostonians who had revolted in the actions of the Boston Tea Party. The House had stated that the date of June 1, 1774 would be a day of "fasting, humiliation, and prayer," in support of their Boston colonial brethren. Washington had been a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, attending that last meeting, as well as unofficial, against the governor's orders, meetings of the House of Burgesses in the weeks after that. In August, one of those meetings became known as the first Virginia Revolutionary convention.

George Mason was a colonial planter, forty-eight years old when the House of Burgesses was dissolved and akin to Washington in his sentiments toward the rights of the American colonies. Mason lived in Gunston Hall, a five thousand five hundred acre plantation twelve miles from Mount Vernon, and had briefly served with Washington in the House of Burgesses. Mason had been active in subverting British rules for some time, perhaps ten years, finding ways in his profession as a plantation owner to get around the Stamp Act.

By 1774, George Mason had had enough. He began a series of writings, most of which became known as the Fairfax Resolves. These resolutions, primed by a meeting of a Fairfax County committee on July 5, 1774, of which both Washington and Mason were part, rejected the notion that British authority was supreme over the American colonies. The resolves were endorsed by the committee on July 18, 1774, after Mason and Washington had met at Mount Vernon the day before. It was not, at this time, their intention to revolt, but wished to remain British subjects, yet not controlled in a heavy handed manner by them.

Fairfax Resolves, Full Text

Fairfax County Resolves, 18 July 1774.

At a General Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the County of Fairfax, at the Court House in the Town of Alexandria, on Monday, the 18th day of July, 1774: GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esquire, Chairman, and ROBERT HARRISON, Gentleman, Clerk.

Resolved, That this Colony and Dominion of Virginia cannot be considered as a conquered country, and, if it was, that the present inhabitants are the descendants, not of the conquered, but of the conquerors. That the same was not settled at the national expense of England, but at the private expense of the adventurers, our ancestors, by solemn compact with, and under the auspices and protection of, the British Crown, upon which we are, in every respect, as dependent as the people of Great Britain, and in the same manner subject to all his Majesty's just, legal, and constitutional prerogatives that our ancestors, when they left their native land, and settled in America, brought with them, even if the same had not been confirmed by Charters, the civil Constitution and form of Government of the country they came from, and were by the laws of nature and Nations entitled to all its privileges, immunities, and advantages, which have descended to us, their posterity, and ought of right to be as fully enjoyed as if we had still continued within the Realm of England.

Resolved, That the most important and valuable part of the British Constitution, upon which its very existence depends, Is the fundamental principle of the people's being governed by no laws to which they have not given their consent by Representatives freely chosen by themselves, who are affected by the laws they enact equally with their constituents, to whom they are accountable, and whose burthens they share, in which consists the safety and happiness of the community for if this part of the Constitution was taken away, or materially altered, the Government must degenerate either into an absolute and despotick monarchy, or a tyrannical aristocracy, and the freedom of the people be annihilated.

Resolved, Therefore, as the inhabitants of the American Colonies are not, and from their situation, cannot be represented in the British Parliament that the Legislative power here can, of right, be exercised only by our Provincial Assemblies, or Parliaments, subject to the assent or negative of the British Crown, to be declared within some proper limited time but as it was thought just and reasonable that the people of Great Britain should reap advantages from the Colonies adequate to the protection they afforded them, the British Parliament have claimed and exercised the power of regulating our trade and commerce, so as to restrain our importing from foreign countries such articles as they could furnish us with, of their own growth and manufacture, or exporting to foreign countries such articles and portions of our produce as Great Britain stood in need of, for her own consumption or manufacture. Such a power directed with wisdom and moderation, seems necessary for the general good of that great body politick of which we are a part, although in some degree repugnant to the principles of the Constitution. Under this idea, our ancestors submitted to it, the experience of more than a century, during the government of his Majesty's royal predecessors, have proved its utility, and the reciprocal benefits flowing from it produced mutual uninterrupted harmony and good will between the inhabitants of Great Britain and her Colonies, who during that long period always considered themselves as one and the same people and though such a power is capable of abuse, and in some instances hath been stretched beyond the original design and institution, yet to avoid strife and contention with our fellow-subjects, and strongly impressed with the experience of mutual benefits, we always cheerfully acquiesced in it while the entire regulation of our internal policy, and giving and granting our own money, were preserved to our own Provincial Legislatures.

Resolved, That it is the duty of these Colonies, on all emergencies, to contribute in proportion to their abilities, situation, and circumstances, to the necessary charge of supporting and defending the British Empire, of which they are a part that while we are treated upon an equal footing with our fellow-subjects, the motives of self-interest and preservation will be a sufficient obligation, as was evident through the course of the last war and that no argument can be fairly applied to the British Parliament's taxing us, upon a presumption that we should refuse a just and reasonable contribution, but will equally operate in justification of the Executive power taxing the people of England, upon a supposition of their Representatives refusing to grant the necessary supplies.

Resolved, That the claim lately assumed and exercised by the British Parliament for making all such laws as they think fit to govern the people of these Colonies, and to extort from us our money without our consent, is not only diametrically contrary to the first principles of the Constitution and the original compacts by which we are dependent upon the British Crown and Government, but is totally incompatible with the privileges of a free people and the natural rights of mankind, will render our own Legislatures merely nominal and nugatory, and is calculated to reduce us from a state of freedom and happiness to slavery and misery.

Resolved, That taxation and representation are in their nature inseparable that the right of withholding, or of giving and granting their own money, is the only effectual security to a free people against the encroachments of despotism and tyranny and that whenever they yield the one, they must quickly fall a prey to the other.

Resolved, That the powers over the people of America, now claimed by the British House of Commons, in whose election we have no share in whose determinations we have no influence whose information must be always defective, and often false who in many instances may have a separate, and in some an opposite interest to ours and who are removed from those impressions of tenderness and compassion, arising from personal intercourse and connection, which soften the rigours of the most despotick Governments, must, if continued, establish the most grievous and intolerable species of tyranny and oppression that ever was inflicted upon mankind.

Resolved, That it is our greatest wish and inclination, as well as interest, to continue our connection with, and dependence upon, the British Government but though we are its subjects, we will use every means which Heaven hath given us to prevent our becoming its slaves.

Resolved, That there is a premeditated design and system formed and pursued by the British Ministry to introduce an arbitrary Government into his Majesty's American Dominions, to which end they are artfully prejudicing our Sovereign and inflaming the minds of our fellow-subjects in Great Britain, by propagating the most malevolent falsehoods, particularly that there is an intention in the American Colonies to set up for independent states, endeavouring at the same time, by various acts of violence and oppression, by sudden and repeated dissolutions of our Assemblies, whenever they presume to examine the illegality of Ministerial mandates, or deliberate on the violated rights of their constituents, and by breaking in upon the American Charters, to reduce us to a state of desperation, and dissolve the original compact, by which our ancestors bound themselves and their posterity to remain dependent upon the British Crown which measures, unless effectually counteracted, will end in the ruin, both of Great Britain and her Colonies.

Resolved, That the several Acts of Parliament for raising a revenue upon the people of America, without their consent the erecting new and dangerous jurisdictions here the taking away our trials by jury the ordering persons, upon criminal accusations, to be tried in another country than that in which the fact is charged to have been committed the Act inflicting Ministerial vengeance upon the town of Boston and the two Bills lately brought into Parliament for abrogating the Charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and for the protection and encouragement of murderers in the said Province, are part of the above mentioned iniquitous system that the inhabitants of the town of Boston are now suffering in the common cause of all British America, and are justly entitled to its support and assistance and, therefore, that a subscription ought immediately to be opened, and proper persons appointed, in every county in this Colony, to purchase provisions and consign them to some gentlemen of character in Boston, to be distributed among the poorer sort of the people there.

Resolved, That we will cordially join with our friends and brethren of this and the other Colonies, in such measures as shall be judged most effectual, for procuring a redress of our grievances and that, upon obtaining such redress, if the destruction of the tea at Boston be regarded as an invasion of private property, we shall be willing to contribute towards paying the East India Company the value but, as we consider the said Company as the tools and instruments of oppression in the hands of Government, and the cause of the present distress, it is the opinion of this meeting, that the people of these Colonies should forbear all further dealings with them, by refusing to purchase their merchandise, until that peace, safety, and good order, which they have disturbed, be perfectly restored and that all tea now in this Colony, or which shall be imported into it, shipped before the first day of September next, should be deposited in some store-house to be appointed by the respective Committees of each county, until a sufficient sum of money be raised, by subscription, to reimburse the owners the value, and then to be publickly burnt and destroyed and if the same is not paid for and destroyed as aforesaid, that it remain in the custody of the said Committees, at the risk of the owners, until the Act of Parliament imposing a duty upon tea for raising a revenue in America, be repealed and immediately afterwards be delivered unto the several proprietors thereof, their agents or attornies.

Resolved, That nothing will so much contribute to defeat the pernicious designs of the common enemies of Great Britain and her Colonies, as a firm union of the latter, who ought to regard every act of violence or oppression inflicted upon any one of them, as aimed at all and to effect this desirable purpose, that a Congress should be appointed, to consist of Deputies from all the Colonies, to concert a general and uniform plan for the defence and preservation of our common rights, and continuing the connection and dependence of the said Colonies upon Great Britain, under a just, lenient, permanent, and constitutional form of Government.

Resolved, That our most sincere and cordial thanks be given to the patrons and friends of liberty in Great Britain, for their spirited and patriotick conduct in support of our constitutional rights and privileges, and their generous efforts to prevent the present distress and calamity of America.

Resolved, That every little jarring interest and dispute which hath ever happened between these Colonies, should be buried in eternal oblivion that all manner of luxury and extravagance ought immediately to be laid aside, as totally inconsistent with the threatening and gloomy prospect before us that it is the indispensable duty of all the gentlemen and men of fortunes to set examples of temperance, fortitude, frugality, and industry, and give every encouragement in their power, particularly by subscriptions and premiums, to the improvement of arts and manufactures in America that great care and attention should be had to the cultivation of flax, cotton, and other materials for manufactures and we recommend it to such of the inhabitants as have large stocks of sheep, to sell to their neighbours at a moderate price, as the most certain means of speedily increasing our breed of sheep and quantity of wool.

Resolved, That until American grievances be redressed, by restoration of our just rights and privileges, no goods or merchandise whatsoever ought to be imported into this Colony, which shall be shipped from Great Britain or Ireland, after the first day of September next, except linens not exceeding fifteen pence per yard, coarse woollen cloth, not exceeding two shillings sterling per yard nails, wire, and wire cards, needles and pins, paper, saltpetre, and medicines, which may be imported until the first day of September, 1776 and if any goods or merchandise, other than those hereby excepted, should be shipped from Great Britain after the time aforesaid, to this Colony, that the same, immediately upon their arrival, should either be sent back again by the owners, their agents or attornies, or stored and deposited in some warehouse, to be appointed by the Committee for each respective county, and there kept at the risk and charge of the owners, to be delivered to them when a free importation of goods hither shall again take place and that the merchants and venders of goods and merchandise within this Colony ought not to take advantage of our present distress, but continue to sell the goods and merchandise which they now have, or which may be shipped to them before the first day of September next, at the same rates and prices they have been accustomed to do within one year last past and if any person shall sell such goods on any other terms than above expressed, that no inhabitant of this Colony should, at any time forever thereafter, deal with him, his agent, factor, or storekeeper, for any commodity whatsoever.

Resolved, That it it is the opinion of this meeting, that the merchants and venders of goods and merchandise within this Colony should take an oath not to sell or dispose of any goods or merchandise whatsoever, which may be shipped from Great Britain after the first day of September next, as aforesaid, except the articles before excepted and that they will, upon the receipt of such prohibited goods, either send the same back again by the first opportunity, or deliver them to the Committees of the respective counties, to be deposited in some warehouse, at the risk and charge of the owners, until they, their agents, or factors, shall be permitted to take them away by the said Committees and that the names of those who refuse to take such oath, be advertised by the respective Committees, in the counties wherein they reside and to the end that the inhabitants of this Colony may know what merchants and venders of goods and merchandise have taken such oath, that the respective Committees should grant a certificate thereof to every such person who shall take the same.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, that during our present difficulties and distress, no slaves ought to be imported into any of the British Colonies on this Continent and we take this opportunity of declaring our most earnest wishes to see an entire stop forever put to such a wicked, cruel, and unnatural trade.

Resolved, That no kind of lumber should be exported from this Colony to the West Indies, until America be restored to her constitutional rights and liberties, if the other Colonies will accede to a like resolution: and that it be recommended to the general Congress to appoint as early a day as possible for stopping such exports.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, if American grievances be not redressed before the first day of November, 1775, that all exports of produce from the several Colonies to Great Britain, should cease and to carry the said resolution more effectually into execution, that we will not plant or cultivate any tobacco after the crop now growing, provided the same measure shall be adopted by the other Colonies on this Continent, as well as those who have heretofore made tobacco, as those who have not. And it is our opinion, also, if the Congress of Deputies from the several Colonies shall adopt the measure of non-exportation to Great Britain, as the people will be thereby disabled from paying their debts, that no judgments should be rendered by the Courts in the said Colonies, for any debt, after information of the said measures being determined upon.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, that a Solemn Covenant and Association should be entered into by the inhabitants of all the Colonies, upon oath, that they will not, after the time which shall be respectively agreed on at the general Congress, export any manner of lumber to the West Indies nor any of their produce to Great Britain or sell or dispose of the same to any person who shall not have entered into the said Covenant and Association and also, that they will not import or receive any goods or merchandise which shall be shipped from Great Britain, after the first day of September next, other than the before enumerated articles nor buy or purchase any goods, except as before excepted, of any person whatsoever, who shall not have taken the oath herein before recommended to be taken by the merchants and venders of goods nor buy or purchase any slaves hereafter imported into any part of this Continent, until a free exportation and importation be again resolved on by a majority of the Representatives or Deputies of the Colonies and that the respective Committees of the counties in each Colony, so soon as the Covenant and Association becomes general, publish by advertisements in their several counties, a list of the names of those, (if any such there be) who will not accede thereto, that such traitors to their country may be publickly known and detested.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this meeting, that this and the other associating Colonies should break off all trade, intercourse, and dealings, with that Colony, Province, or town, which shall decline or refuse to agree to the plan which shall be adopted by the general Congress.

Resolved, That should the town of Boston be forced to submit to the late cruel and oppressive measures of Government, that we shall not hold the same to be binding upon us, but will, notwithstanding, religiously maintain, and inviolably adhere to, such measures as shall be concerted by the general Congress, for the preservation of our lives, liberties, and fortunes.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the Deputies of the general Congress, to draw up and transmit an humble and dutiful Petition and Remonstrance to his Majesty, asserting in decent firmness our just and constitutional rights and privileges, lamenting the fatal necessity of being compelled to enter into measures disgusting to his Majesty and his Parliament, or injurious to our fellow-subjects in Great Britaindeclaring, in the strongest terms, our duty and affection to his Majesty's person, family, and Government, and our desire forever to continue our dependence upon Great Britain and most humbly conjuring and beseeching his Majesty not to reduce his faithful subjects of America to a state of desperation, and to reflect, that from our Sovereign there can be but one appeal. And it is the opinion of this meeting, that after such Petition and Remonstrance shall have been presented to his Majesty, the same shall be printed in the public papers in all the principal towns in Great Britain.

Resolved, That George Washington, Esquire, and Charles Broadwater, Gentleman, lately elected our Representatives to serve in the General Assembly, attend the Convention at Williamsburg, on the first day of August next, and present these Resolves as the sense of the people of this county upon the measures proper to be taken in the present alarming and dangerous situation of America.

Resolved, That George Washington, Esq., John West, George Mason, William Rumney, William Ramsay, George Gilpton, Robert Hanson Harrison, John Carlyle, Robert Adam, John Dalton, Philip Alexander, James Kirk, William Brown, Charles Broadwater, William Payne, Martin Cockburne, Lee Massey, William Hartshorne, Thomas Triplett, Charles Alexander, Thomas Pollard, Townsend Dade, Jr., Edward Payne, Henry Gunnell, and Thomas Lewis, be a Committee for this county that they, or a majority of them, on any emergency, have power to call a general meeting, and to concert and adopt such measures as may be thought most expedient and necessary.

Resolved, That a copy of these Proceedings be transmitted to the Printer at Williamsburg, to be published.

The Militia is Formed

The Fairfax County resolves, as well as the resolves of other Virginia counties, were strong in their intent, with a continental congress in the offing and punitive actions. If by November 1, 1774, their issues were not redressed, exports of tobacco would be cut off. Mason and Washington were appointed to a special committee concerning the emergency. In order to enforce any export ban and support the resolves, a militia was to be formed independent of the British government. On September 21, 1774, the Fairfax County Militia Association was formed. In October, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, with Washington in attendance, and agreed with the embargo and most of the Fairfax Resolves positions.

Document to Form the Fairfax County Militia

Fairfax County Militia Association (September 21, 1774) [21 September 1774]

At a Meeting of a Number of Gentlemen & Freeholders of Fairfax County in the Colony of Virginia, on Wednesday the 21st: Day of September 1774, George Mason Esqr. in the Chair, the following Association was formed & entered into.

In this Time of extreme Danger, with the Indian Enemy in our Country, and threat'ned with the Destruction of our Civil-rights, & Liberty, and all that is dear to British Subjects & Freemen we the Subscribers, taking into our serious consideration the present alarming Situation of all the British Colonies upon this Continent as well as our own, being sensible of the Expediency of putting the Militia of this Colony upon a more respectable Footing, & hoping to excite others by our Example, have voluntarily freely &cordially entered into the following Association which we, each of us for ourselves respectively, solemnly promise, & pledge our Honours to each other, and to our Country to perform.

That we will form ourselves into a Company, not exceeding one hundred Men, by the Name of The Fairfax independant Company of Voluntiers, making Choice of our own Officers to whom, for the Sake of Good-order & Regularity, we will pay due submission. That we will meet at such Times & Places in this County as our said Officers (to be chosen by a Majority of the Members, so soon as fifty have subscribed) shall appoint & direct, for the Purpose of learning & practising the military Exercise & Discipline dress'd in a regular Uniform of Blue, turn'd up with Buff with plain yellow metal Buttons, Buff Waist Coat & Breeches, & white Stockings and furnished with a good Fire-lock & Bayonet, Sling Cartouch-Box, and Tomahawk. And that we will, each of us, constantly keep by us a Stock of six pounds of Gunpowder, twenty pounds of Lead, and fifty Gun-flints, at the least. That we will use our utmost Endeavours, as well at the Musters of the said Company, as by all other Means in our Power, to make ourselves Masters of the Military Exercise. And that we will always hold ourselves in Readiness, in Case of Necessity, hostile Invasion, or real Danger of the Community of which we are Members, to defend to the utmost of our Power, the legal prerogatives of our Sovereign King George the third, and the just Rights & Privileges of our Country, our Posterity & ourselves upon the Principles of the British Constitution.

Agreed that all the Subscribers to this Association do meet on Monday the 17th. Day of October next, at eleven o'Clock in the Fore-noon, at the Court House in Alexandria.

By January of 1775, George Washington began drilling the troops, and he and George Mason had purchased gunpower for their use.


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